Wellness in the Workplace Series: Body Wellness in the Workplace:
This month we will be looking at the various aspects of workplace wellness from a holistic approach. We will be focusing this week on Body Wellness in the workplace. When we think about wellness the first thing we think of is the wellness aspects that we can see: the body. Many of the workplace wellness programs focus primarily on the body health. They often include aspects related to nutrition and exercise such as offering a reduced price to a gym near by to having an onsite gym and trainers, from nutritional information being readily available to read, to having a nutritionist onsite. There are small things that employees can do to make a difference as well. They could plan to get up and stretch at regular intervals, go for a walk on their lunch break and plan to eat healthy lunches and snacks. The culture of the organization should value a healthy lifestyle.
“In general, physical wellness includes physical activity, nutrition, and self-care, and involves preventative and proactive actions that take care of one’s physical body.” (http://www.geog.uvic.ca/wellness/wellness/2_DefiningWellness.pdf)
“Physical wellness encompasses maintenance of cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, and strength. Actions to improve physical wellness include maintaining a healthy diet and becoming in tune with how the body responds to various events, stress, and feelings by monitoring internal and external physical signs. This includes seeking medical care when appropriate, and taking action to prevent and avoid harmful behaviours (e.g., tobacco use and excess alcohol consumption) and detect illnesses.” (http://www.geog.uvic.ca/wellness/wellness/2_DefiningWellness.pdf)
Why should we as employers be interested in the body health of our employees? Employees that are in better shape are less likely to have as much absenteeism, “presenteeism” and take less sick days, which have a positive affect on the bottom line of the employer in the short term. In the long term employers can look forward to a Return on Investment (ROI) of roughly $3 for every $1 spent on a well designed wellness program. A recent study from the American Journal of Health Promotion states that the average ROI of $3.48 was determined following an analysis of more than 200 employers and their wellness programs. This varies slightly in Canada where “Organizations such as Canada Life, Dupont, Prudential Insurance and Citibank report positive ROI in the range of $2 to $6.85 savings for each $1 invested in employee wellness.” (http://www.benefitscanada.com/benefits/health-wellness/how-well-is-your-wellness-program-37003)